Sibylle Fischer on the early Haitian Law

Re-reading: Sybelle Fischer’s Modernity Disavowed.

Look here for a post on this book at the blog for Caribbean & Atlantic Bibliographies

Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution

Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution

Fischer’s book is always refreshing and helpful. I realized how much it had influenced me when in a meeting with the author I told a story from the book back to her without realizing that I had actually learned it from her book. I came back to it today to review what she had written on the early Haitian law in chapters 11-13. Though she only made a few references to the 1816 Constitution, which is my focus, her in-depth study of the earlier ones, particularly that of 1801 (Toussaint Louverture’s) is crucial to my study on the Haitian law. Also helpful is how she projects these constitutions forward in time and see their implications for the rest of the 19th century.

While David Geggus (in his otherwise praiseful review of Fischer’s) claimed that Fischer “is somewhat less sure-footed in these chapters,” Sarah Franklin wrote otherwise: “As the reader might expect, Fischer’s analysis of Haiti in the context of the Haitian Revolution is particularly keen.” The dichotomy of opinions may well derived from the different ways both are assessing her contributions in this section. Geggus noticed Fischer’s historical misses, which he gathered all in two sentences (this is also the bulk of his criticism):  Fischer is “unaware of the slave insurrection’s ambivalent stance on emancipation and, unjustly criticizing Blackburn, misrepresents the politics of Brissot and the Girondins on the issue. Saint Domingue did not have “more than one hundred different terms”(p. 232) for degrees of racial intermixture, and Haiti did not become “increasingly isolated”(p. 244) in the mid-nineteenth century.”

These are his objections, in my words:

1) We cannot assume that emancipation was always the central goal of all the leaders of the “insurrection” (notice how Geggus uses the term insurrection rather than “Revolution”). Not all who were later baptized as revolutionary leaders and founders of the nation of Haiti always fought for freedom from slavery. Realizing how other interests (i.e., Mulatto rights) and belief systems (i.e., slavery is not unnatural) were also common while the insurrection would necessarily portray a more sober picture than the one that mythologizes the revolution with an unison voice. At this point in time, most scholars following the literature, take this as common knowledge, thanks in part to Geggus himself (here, here and here), and for scholars like Jeremy D. Popkin.

Edited Note March 2, 2015:

I was reminded that Fischer addressed this same point directly in the first note of chapter 11. She wrote:

It should be noted that this account, which assigns primacy to the slave revolt in the Caribbean, is not universally accepted. David Geggus, for instance, has argued that Toussaint did not openly adopt the cause of general liberty until after Sonthonax’s decree of August 1793 and the Declaration of the French Assembly of February 1794 (David P. Geggus, “The French and Haitian Revolutions, and Resistance to Slavery in the Americas: An Overview,” in La révolution française et les colonies, ed. Jean Tarrade [Paris: Société française d’histoire d’outre-mer, 1989], 118). While I find this aspect of Geggus’s argument somewhat unconvincing (or at the least no less speculative, and more implausible, than the opposite argument), his insistence that slave resistance in the Caribbean derived important influence from the international movement against slavery is highly plausible and in keeping with the argument I am making.

End of edited note.

2) The French were more complicated. Fischer’s contention with Blackburn is on how he placed abolitionism as part of the French project of imperialism. See here for the quotes. Geggus, I presume, believed like Blackburn that the French abolition movement was closer to the European program for expansion than what it might look. I think Fischer is today on this side of the fence too. 

3) Saint Domingue did not have a long taxonomy and numerous names for shades of color (I wish I could remember the origin of this thought. If you do, please, send me a note).

From my point of view, Geggus is correct on all counts. But it may be that these distractions, as he also wrote, do not take away from Fischer’s primary contributions: “Despite such minor blemishes, this is a wide-ranging and thought-provoking work that combines bold generalization with a profusion of arresting detail and ingenious argument.”

Sarah Franklin, differently from Geggus, focuses on Fischer’s powerful analyzes of Haiti’s postrevolutionary or postcolonial condition. Franklin explains Fischer’s contributions in this area similarly to how I see it.

She notes that the […]  implicit incongruity of forming a society around both racial equality and national sovereignty could not be reconciled. Additionally, her analysis of Haiti’s post-revolutionary constitutions provides new, much-needed insight into the society. She notes that these documents clearly articulate the struggles that lay ahead for Haiti as it formulated its own identity at a time when Europeans were extending their colonies into Africa and Asia and scientific racism was increasingly viewed as a ba- sis for sound policy decisions. Moreover, within the Caribbean and the larger slave-holding world, Haiti was a contagion requiring quarantine and it became increasingly isolated. Thus, Haiti, founded on principles of revolutionary antislavery and personal rights, became consumed by issues of [the] nation and national sovereignty. “Clearly, ideas of citizenship, nationality, and rights of residence undergo severe changes in the first half of the nineteenth century” (244). As Fischer argues, the transnational ideology that provided the foundations of Haiti had to be cast aside, or disavowed, in order for Haiti to survive in a world that had chosen a path of borders and nations.

Franklin’s points in bullets (with my thoughts on reading Fischer):

1- Racial equality was incongruent with the European model of the nation, and thus, impossible to realize (make it happen) under European hegemony.

2- The early Haitian constitutions were more than constitutions (more similar to declarations of independence); they were documents that emerged from a collective of diverse people who were using the drafting of these constitutions as a way to assert their claims to perpetual freedom. The nation was not for them the bourgeoisie ideal that Genovese saw.

3- An isolated “contagion”: this point seems to diverge from Geggus, who clearly stated that Haiti did not become increasingly isolated, which I wholeheartedly agree in matters of commerce, migrations, etc. Yet, I also agree with Franklin and Fischer in that the Haitian nation missed out in the increasingly fast and copious connections that the new American nations (former Spanish America) were developing among themselves, with the U.S. and Europe. Look for example at the snubbing Haiti received in the 1823 Monroe Doctrine and then in the 1826 Panamá Congress. Even when France granted conditional recognition after 1825, Haiti continued being ignored by the U.S. and other American and European countries. And even when countries did recognize Haiti, it was more a token than a real recognition, which should have meant formal cultural exchanges, less lopsided trade, etc. So, we should not think of postcolonial Haiti as a backward (it had the most advanced laws) and isolated country, but when compared with the increasing connections and exchanges taking place across the Atlantic, Haiti was gradually falling behind, perhaps, until the 1850s, when a new migration project began, and its liberal government was praised in contrast with the previous one.

Haytian papers. A collection of the very interesting proclamations and other official documents, together with some account of the rise, progress, and present state of the kingdom of Hayti. By Prince Sanders [i.e., Saunders]

Haytian papers. A collection of the very interesting proclamations and other official documents, together with some account of the rise, progress, and present state of the kingdom of Hayti. By Prince Sanders [i.e., Saunders]

4- Transnationalism turns inside out. This is for me an important issue, not so much because through this analysis Fischer looks into future ideologies of resistance used against the U.S. invasion after 1915, but because it provides a well-thought explanation for the oddity of the Haitian law at its beginnings, before it “turned inside out.” Franklin noticed, as I did, how Fischer’s idea of an anti-national transnationalism that was embedded in the writing of the early Haitian law helps explain the recurrent clause assuring the world that Haiti was not going to export its revolution. Such a clause was necessary because the Haitian law was, unmistakenly, a threat to other nations, not simply because it offered refuge to all of those who had been persecuted by European colonialism (i.e., Spanish-American patriots and runaways), but it diluted its borders with its vague attempt in defining who a Haitian was. If the enslaved families from North Caicos could legally call themselves Haitians, and taken steps toward assuring such an identity by boarding boats and crossing the channel of 130 miles separating them from Hispaniola, then, no nation, not even those who were not in the vicinity, could maintain its borders sealed; no country could articulate a monolithic vision of the nation while there was a nation without borders– better said, with borders that protected its citizens from outside threat, but was open to those who would come to stay as natives. The 1824 migration exemplifies this point. The party (the euphoria for the migration) was shut down when the American Colonization Society was able to verbalize, more persuasively than before, the threat that an open-borders Haiti meant for the U.S. imperial projects.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Turks and Caicos Islands

Another related point that Fischer offers, which might required more space, is the concept that the nation and the state grew gradually apart; that while the people and the law held on to revolutionary ideals, the state moved away, not simply because it became more authoritarian, but because it rejected the transnationalism that had given Haiti its reason to exist. Such a notion is also crucial for Robert Futton’s Roots of Haitian Despotism. It links to my study by helping frame the early years, prior to the 1826 Rural Code, at a time when the state was still weak enough for the nation (as opposed to the state) to be able to exercise disproportionate influence in domestic as well as foreign affairs.

Further reading (not included in the text above)

Accilien, C., J. Adams, Elmide Méléance, and U. Jean-Pierre. Revolutionary Freedoms: A History of Survival, Strength and Imagination in Haiti. Caribbean Studies Press, 2006.

Beauvois, Frédérique. “L’indemnité de Saint-Domingue: « Dette d’indépendance » ou « rançon de l’esclavage ».” French Colonial History 10, no. 1 (2009): 109–24.

Bellegarde-Smith, Patrick. Haiti: The Breached Citadel. Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2004.

Bongie, Chris. “Monotonies of History‘: Baron de Vastey and the Mulatto Legend of Derek Walcott’s ’Haitian Trilogy.” Yale French Studies, no. 107 (2005): 70–107

Brière, Jean-François. “Du Sénégal Aux Antilles: Gaspard-Théodore Mollien En Haiti, 1825-1831.” French Colonial History 8 (2007): 71–79.

———. “La France et La Reconnaissance de l’Independence Haitienne: Le Debat Sur L’Ordonnance de 1825.” French Colonial History 5 (2004): 125–38.

Calarge, Carla, Raphael Dalleo, and Luis Duno-Gottberg. Haiti and the Americas. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 2013.

Dash, J. Michael. Haiti and the United States: National Stereotypes and the Literary Imagination. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1997.

Daut, Marlene L. “Daring to Be Free/Dying to Be Free: Toward a Dialogic Haitian-US Studies.” American Quarterly 63, no. 2 (2011): 375–89.

Daut, Marlene L. “Sons of White Fathers‘: Mulatto Vengeance and the Haitian Revolution in Victor Sâejour’s ’The Mulatto.” Nineteenth-Century Literature 65, no. 1 (2010): 1–37.

Daut, Marlene Leydy. “The ‘Alpha and Omega’ of Haitian Literature: Baron de Vastey and the U.S. Audience of Haitian Political Writing.” Comparative Literature Studies 64, no. 1 (2012): 49–72.

Dayan, Joan. Haiti, History, and the Gods. 1995.

De Briffault, E. Christian. “The Haitian Revolution, 1791–1803. Race, Slavery, and the Balance of Power: A Comparative Analysis.” D.A., St. John’s University (New York), 2004.

Dieudé, Aude. “Toussaint Louverture and Haiti’s History as Muse: Legacies of Colonial and Postcolonial Resistance in Francophone African and Caribbean Corpus.” Dissertation, Duke University, 2013.

Dubois, L. Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Harvard University Press, 2005.

Eller, Anne E. “Let’s Show the World We Are Brothers: The Dominican Guerra de Restauracion and the Nineteenth-Century Caribbean.”

Fatton, Robert. Haiti’s Predatory Republic: The Unending Transition to Democracy. Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2002.

Ferrer, Ada. Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution. Book, Whole. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

———. “Haiti, Free Soil, and Antislavery in the Revolutionary Atlantic.” The American Historical Review 117:1 (2012): 40–66.

———. “The Archive and the Atlantic’s Haitian Revolution.” Haitian History–Sepinwall: New Perspectives, 2012, 139.

Fick, Carolyn E. “The Haitian Revolution and the Limits of Freedom: Defining Citizenship in the Revolutionary Era.” Social History 32, no. 4 (11): 394–414.

Forsdick, Charles. “Situating Haiti: On Some Early Nineteenth-Century Representations of Toussaint Louverture.” International Journal of Francophone Studies 10, no. 1–2 (March 7, 2007): 17–34.

Gaffield, J. “Haiti and Jamaica in the Remaking of the Early Nineteenth-Century Atlantic World.” The William and Mary Quarterly 69, no. 3 (2012): 583–614.

Gaffield, Julia. “‘Liberté, Indépendance’: Haitian Anti-Slavery and National Independence.” In A Global History of Anti-Slavery Politics in the Nineteenth Century, edited by W. Mulligan and M. Bric, 17–36. Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.

Garraway, Doris Lorraine. Tree of Liberty: Cultural Legacies of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2008.

Ghachem, Malick W. The Old Regime and the Haitian Revolution. Book, Whole. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Girard, Philippe R. “The ‘Dark Star’: New Scholarship on the Repercussions of the Haitian Revolution.” Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 36, no. 72 (2011): 229–47.

———. “The Haitian Revolution, History’s New Frontier: State of the Scholarship and Archival Sources.” Slavery & Abolition 34, no. 3 (2013): 485–507.

Gonzalez, Johnhenry. “The War on Sugar: Forced Labor, Commodity Production and the Origins of the Haitian Peasantry, 1791–1843.” Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2012. –

James, C.L.R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. Vintage Books, 1989.

Jenson, Deborah. “The Writing of Disaster in Haiti: Signifying Cataclysm from Slave Revolution to Earthquake.” Haiti Rising: Haitian History, Culture, and the Earthquake of 2010, 2010, 102–11.

Johnson, S.E. The Fear of French Negroes: Transcolonial Collaboration in the Revolutionary Americas. University of California Press, 2012.

Jones, Christina Violeta. “Revolution and Reaction: Santo Domingo during the Haitian Revolution and Beyond, 1791–1844.” Ph.D., Howard University, 2008.

Joseph, Celucien L. “‘The Haitian Turn’: An Appraisal of Recent Literary and Historiographical Works on the Haitian Revolution.” Journal of Pan African Studies 5, no. 6 (2012): 37–55.

———. “‘The Haitian Turn’: Haiti, the Black Atlantic, and Black Transnational Consciousness.” Dissertation, University of Texas at Dallas, 2012.

Kaisary, Philip. The Haitian Revolution in the Literary Imagination: Radical Horizons, Conservative Constraints. University of Virginia Press, 2014.

Kaussen, Valerie Mae. “Romancing the Peasant: History and Revolution in the Modern Haitian Novel.” Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz, 2000.

Kwon, Yun Kyoung. “Ending Slavery, Narrating Emancipation: Revolutionary Legacies in the French Antislavery Debate and ‘Silencing the Haitian Revolution,’ 1814–48.” Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2012.

Léger, Jacques Nicolas. La Politique Extérieure d’Haïti. viii, 207 p. Paris: C. Marpon et E. Flammarion, 1886.

Leger, Natalie Marie. “‘A Tragedy of Success!’: Haiti and the Promise of Revolution.” Cornell University, 2012.

Magloire, Gérarde. “Haitian-Ness, Frenchness and History. Historicizing the French Component of Haitian National Identity.” Pouvoirs Dans La Caraïbe. Revue Du CRPLC, no. Spécial (1997): 18–40.

Mayes, April, Yolanda C Martín, Carlos Ulises Decena, Kiran Jayaram, and Yveline Alexis. “Transnational Hispaniola: Toward New Paradigms in Haitian and Dominican Studies.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (2013): 26–32.

Middelanis, Carl-Hermann. “Blending with Motifs and Colors: Haitian History Interpreted by Edouard Duval Carrie.” Small Axe 9, no. 2 (2005): 109–23.

Mongey, Vanessa. “A Tale of Two Brothers: Haiti’s Other Revolutions.” The Americas 69, no. 1 (2012): 37–60.

Munro, Martin. “Haitian Novels and Novels of Haiti: History, Haitian Writing, and Madison Smartt Bell’s Trilogy.” Small Axe 11, no. 2 (June 2007): 163–76.

Munro, Martin, and Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw. Echoes of the Haitian Revolution, 1804-2004. Kingston, Jamaica: University of the West Indies Press, 2008.

Munro, M., and E. Walcott-Hackshaw. Reinterpreting the Haitian Revolution And Its Cultural Aftershocks. University of the West Indies Press, 2006.

Nesbitt, N. Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment. University of Virginia Press, 2008.

Nesbitt, Nick. “Turning the Tide: The Problem of Popular Insurgency in Haitian Revolutionary Historiography.” Small Axe 27 (2008).

Nessler, Graham. “The Shame of the Nation: The Force of Re-Ensalvement and the Law of ‘Slavery’ under the Jean-Louis Ferrand in Santo Domingo, 1804-1809.” NWIG: New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids 86, no. 1/2 (2012): 5–28.

Nessler, Graham Townsend. “A Failed Emancipation? The Struggle for Freedom in Hispaniola during the Haitian Revolution, 1789–1809,” 2011.

Nicholls, David. From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race, Colour, and National Independence in Haiti. Rutgers University Press, 1996.

Paravisini-Gebert, Lizabeth. “The Haitian Revolution in Interstices and Shadows: A Re-Reading of Alejo Carpentier’s The Kingdom of This World.” Research in African Literatures 35, no. 2 (2004): 114–27.

Past, Mariana. “Reclaiming the Haitian Revolution: Race, Politics and History in Twentieth Century Caribbean Literature,” 2006.

Pisarz-Ramirez, Gabriele. “‘The Darkest Is Before the Break of Day.’ Rhetorical Uses of Haiti in the Works Fo Early African-American Writers.” Atlantic Studies 4, no. 1 (March 2007): 37–50.

Popkin, Jeremy D. “Race, Slavery, and the French and Haitian Revolutions.” Eighteenth-Century Studies 37, no. 1 (2003): 113–22.

Ramsey, Kate. “Performances of Prohibition: Law, ‘Superstition,’ and National Modernity in Haiti.” Columbia University, 2002.

Reinsel, Amy. “Poetry of Revolution: Romanticism and National Projects in Nineteenth-Century Haiti.” Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2008.

Scott, David. Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment. Duke University Press, 2004.

Scott, Rebecca J. “Paper Thin: Freedom and Re-Enslavement in the Diaspora of the Haitian Revolution.” Law and History Review 29, no. 04 (2011): 1061–87.

Semley, Lorelle D. “To Live and Die, Free and French Toussaint Louverture’s 1801 Constitution and the Original Challenge of Black Citizenship.” Radical History Review 2013, no. 115 (2013): 65–90.

Sepinwall, Alyssa Goldstein. Haitian History: New Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2012.

Sheller, Mimi. “The Army of Sufferers: Peasant Democracy in the Early Republic of Haiti.” New West Indian Guide 74, no. I/2 (2000): 33–56.

Sheridan, Richard B. “From Jamaican Slavery to Haitian Freedom: The Case of the Black Crew of the Pilot Boat, Deep Nine.” Journal of Negro History, 1982, 328–39.

Silverman, Aaron Jay. “A Dark Spectre: The Haitian Revolution and American Politics.” Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2010.

Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Boston, Mass: Beacon Press, 2002.

West, M.O., W.G. Martin, and F.C. Wilkins. From Toussaint to Tupac: The Black International Since the Age of Revolution. University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

Wucker, Mchele. Why the Cocks Fight: Dominicans, Haitians, and the Struggle for Hispaniola. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.

Dominica changes designation of indigenous people from Carib to Kalinago


This is relevant to my Colonial Latin American History course. The Caribbean Sea should remind every one of the power to name that the European sojourners exercised here.

Originally posted on Repeating Islands:


The country’s prime minister says the change seeks to right a historical wrong in the life of the Kalinago people, TeleSur reports. Our thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.

Five years after embarking on a campaign to change the name of the 3,700-acre Carib Territory to the Kalinago Territory, Dominica’s indigenous people are to get their wish.

The Government of Dominica announced that the name change is an urgent matter and will be down for consideration at the first sitting of parliament since the December 2014 general election.

Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says as well as renaming the territory, the government intends to ensure the Carib Chief will be known as the Kalinago Chief.

This is a vital issue for Dominica’s indigenous people, who say the term “Carib” dates back to Christopher Columbus and is a derogatory term with connotations of cannibalism. For years, several chiefs have said the…

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MLK: this is always inspiring


Martin Luther King Jr. > Quotes > Quotable Quote

Martin Luther King Jr.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

Martin Luther King Jr.

Metacognition | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University

Metacognition | Center for Teaching | Vanderbilt University.

Nancy Chick writes about using Metacognition in the classroom, but her suggestions are also relevant for individual usage. Keeping a weekly, or bi-weekly (depending on the intensity of your research) reflective journal is as helpful for students as it is for faculty. The question that remains for me is how to walk the line between disclosure and privacy, particularly about research material and ideas.

Myth, Reality and the Underground Railroad


Thanks, Norberto, for sharing this article. Kytle and Geissert make a terrific comparison between the Anti-slavery memorialists and the “Lost Cause” ideologues, and warn us about how easy is to fall into the “End of History” (not a term they used) mentality: “a mythos of accomplished glory, a history of emancipation completed.”

Originally posted on El Imperio de Calibán:

Myth, Reality and the Underground Railroad

New York Times      February 27, 2015

disunion45On Feb. 24, 1865, William Lloyd Garrison, the editor of the antislavery weekly The Liberator, published an odd column – odd, because the piece, written by the New York minister Thomas Jefferson Sawyer, had already appeared in the paper, less than a year before. But Garrison believed that the article’s point – about collective memory, and collective forgetting – was an important one, and with the war’s end in sight, he wanted to make sure his readers saw it.

“It is a very curious fact in the history of public opinion,” Sawyer wrote, “that the mass of people who never think or act with early reformers gradually come to persuade themselves, as the reformation goes on and grows popular, that they were always of that party, or at least sympathized with its spirit. … Twenty years…

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“‘Vicente Guerrero Is Not North America’s first black president who predates Obama by 180 years': A Response to Ronda Racha Penrice’s article”


Good job! at calling out the much needed contributions of this article, and to use the occasion to correct, or better said, to informed the readership of how the record should read if we are going to measure history’s “firsts” in terms of titles. Once more, you helped us see how Haitian history has been and continue to be “silenced” to the detriment of our own wellbeing.

Originally posted on celucienljoseph, Ph.D.-- Author, Scholar, Intellectual:

My response to Ronda Racha Penrice, the author of the article entitled “North America’s first black president, Vicente Guerrero, predates Obama by 180 years,” which he wrote for the Grio.

You have written an informative article on Vicente Guerrero, but it does not take into full account other black presidents in the Western world. Alexandre Petion was actually the first black president in the Americas and the Western world. He served as President of Haiti from 17 October 1806 to 29 March 1818. Jean Pierre-Boyer served as the second Black President in the Western World and Haiti –from 30 March 1818 to13 February 1843. Both Presidents Petion and Boyer preceded Vicente Guerrero, who became Mexico’s third president in 1829.

In the article, Penrice makes two important assertions:

1. “The fact is that Mexico, not the United States, holds claim to that black history milestone. Vicente Guerrero preceded…

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Bahamian distance runner writes book on social emotional empowerment

Originally posted on Repeating Islands:


Dr. Marilyn Simmons Bowe, PhD. Educator, Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Researcher, and Marathon Runner was born a child of poverty in Nassau, Bahamas, in an urban low socioeconomic area.  She was the sixth of eight children who were raised by a single divorcee. She and her siblings were raised in a shack, but were told that education would be their way out, The Bahamas Weekly reports.

Defying the odds, Dr. Marilyn graduated from R. M. Bailey High School at the age of 15.  She attended College of The Bahamas and earned an AS in biochemistry at the age of 17. After an initial career as an industrial lab chemist, she earned a B.Sci. in premedical biology with minors in chemistry and education, from Barry University in Miami, Florida and graduated Magna cum laude. Subsequently, she earned an M.Sci. in biomedical sciences with some course work in educational leadership, also at Barry…

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When Americans Lynched Mexicans

Originally posted on El Imperio de Calibán:

20carriganwebb-articleLarge Credit Rachel Levit

When Americans Lynched Mexicans

The New York Times    February 20, 2015

THE recent release of a landmark report on the history of lynching in the United States is a welcome contribution to the struggle over American collective memory. Few groups have suffered more systematic mistreatment, abuse and murder than African-Americans, the focus of the report.

One dimension of mob violence that is often overlooked, however, is that lynchers targeted many other racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, including Native Americans, Italians, Chinese and, especially, Mexicans.

Americans are largely unaware that Mexicans were frequently the targets of lynch mobs, from the mid-19th century until well into the 20th century, second only to African-Americans in the scale and scope of the crimes. One case, largely overlooked or ignored by American journalists but not by the Mexican government, was that of seven Mexican shepherds hanged by white…

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He Never Hit Me | Huffpost Women


The many faces of domestic abuse.

Reut Amit Headshot

Originally posted on Habari Gani, America!:

November 15, 2014
Huffpost Women
Warning: This post contains descriptions of intimate partner abuse and may be triggering to some.

How many times did I find myself on his bathroom floor cowering beneath him, feeling the hot spit land on me as he screamed? Stop crying like a baby. You’re crazy. No one else would put up with you. How many times did I shudder on that floor counting my breaths, bringing myself back from the brink of suffocation during a panic attack that was triggered by one of these maniacal and regular assaults? But he never hit me.

How many hours did I remain on that bathroom floor after he had gone to bed, my eyes red with burst blood vessels? How many times did I hear the sound of his snores and realize he had fallen asleep, no more than a meter away, to the sound of me…

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Quality Control: a short story by Edwidge Danticat


A must read!

Originally posted on Repeating Islands:

11_16 FictionDANTICAT

This story by Edwidge Danticat appeared in The Washington Post.

On the plane, she dreamed two sniper rifles were being pointed at her head.

The landing announcement jolted her awake.

Joseph Salvador Airport was surrounded by barbed-wire-topped walls. Everything outside was dangerous. Or so the concrete, bunker-like immigration and customs building seemed to indicate. She might be better off taking the next plane back, she thought. But she’d already agreed to write a feel-good story on the island’s first lady, an old college roommate.

It was late afternoon on New Year’s Eve and a roasting 98 degrees. The other passengers standing on line with her were mostly expats, some dragging bags bursting with barely hidden American produce for the island’s famous New Year’s Day stew.

In the past, she might have interviewed her few fellow passengers while waiting for the delayed flight. But a recent case of malaria —…

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New York City’s Dominican Population Becomes Largest Latino Community for the First Time


Where had the Puerto Ricans gone? Oh pero bueno! Cual es la vaina aquí?

Originally posted on Repeating Islands:


A new study found that Dominicans have become the largest Latino group in New York City, surpassing the Puerto Rican population for the first time, The Latin Post reports.

The study also found that Dominicans had the highest number of births in the city among Latino subgroups, according to New York City’s Bureau of Vital Statistics.

Over 33,000 children were born to Dominican mothers between 2010 and 2012. Although data has not been released for the following year, it be assumed that about 11,000 more were born in 2013.

CUNY’s Center for Latin American, Caribbean and Latino Studies shows that the city’s Puerto Rican population is no longer the largest Hispanic group as it has been for a long time.

“What stands out from the data is the extraordinary increase in the Dominican population of the city since 2010,” said Laird B. Bergad, director of CLALCS, in a statement.


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Tweet from NY Public Library (@nypl)

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Marjane Satrapi on the importance of intelligence and humor.

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H-LatAm REVIEWS: Long views of economic history in Americas and the Atlantic World

Date Posted: Fri, 06 Nov 2014 13:03:34 -0500

Dear Neteros

The review project in H-LatAm was established in cooperation with the Conference of Latin American History to promote the study and analysis of book monographs (in any language) focused or related to Latin American History. The reviews could be written in Portuguese, Spanish, or English. The vision included a feature not common in traditional journals: to encourage the discussion of the publication. Obviously, there are books with a greater appeal than others, but I would like to emphasize that all neteros can utilize the publication of an online review to initiate further debates. These deliberations should not necessarily contain a controversial plot.

Today we publish two reviews. They both center on economics and differently from the common history monograph, have a link to present-day events. Xabier Lamikiz, from University of the Basque Country, reviews Elvira Vilches’ New World Gold: Cultural Anxiety and Monetary Disorder in Early Modern SpainNew World Gold

And Richard J. Salvucci, from Trinity University, examines Aurora Gómez-Galvarriato’s Industry and Revolution: Social and Economic Change in the Orizaba Valley, Mexico.

industry and revolution

Lamikiz tells us (in Spanish) that Vilches’ book reads well, covers a key and necessary topic, which fills a neglected space, but he would have wanted more in regards to silver’s interactions with gold. Salvucci evidently enjoyed reading Gómez-Galvarriato’s book and let us know that few books on economic history are so well written and cover so much time.

I want to thank our reviewers for their contributions, and I hope that you all neteros would find them useful.

I am including here the links to the reviews:

Lamikiz’ New World Gold

Salvucci’s Industry and Revolution


Dennis R. Hidalgo


Un Haití Dominicano

Originally posted on Alanna Lockward:

unhaitidom.9102283703879622741_oIn the Dominican Republic, Editorial Santuario and the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) announce the launch of Alanna Lockward’s anthology Un Haití dominicano: Tatuajes fantasmas y narrativas bilaterales (1994-2014) [A Dominican Haiti: Ghost Tattoos and Bilateral Narratives (1994-2014)]. The compilation, which features cover art and illustrations by renowned artist Raúl Recio, will be presented on Thursday, September 25, at 7:00pm in the main auditorium of the MAM, located at Plaza de la Cultura in Santo Domingo. The book will be presented by Soraya Aracena and Rubén Silié.

The leading session at the presentation will consist of anthropologist Soraya Aracena and artists Teresa María Díaz Nerio and Raúl Recio.

Argentine semiotician Walter Mignolo (Duke University) writes:

“[. . .] First, I read the manuscript Marassá y la nada, and soon after, the version in print. Marassá y la nada is a beginning work by an already well-formed writer. [. . .] Concise writing…

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Allen Report


Es importante notar que Alanna es la nieta del escritor e intelectual George Agustus Lockward Stamers de la comunidad de descendientes de los inmigrantes norteamericanos. Ella sigue en la tradición de su abuelo pero alcanzando nuevos peldaños con el uso sabio de los medios modernos de comunicación. Aquí se encuentra información de su proyecto sobre el legado de la comunidad histórica de AME en la Republica Dominicana. Este es un proyecto muy cercano al mío:

Originally posted on Alanna Lockward:

The purpose of this documentary is to retrace the liberation legacy of the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in three different locations united by common narratives related to struggles against enslavement and apartheid. The AME Mother Bethel Church was founded by Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1794, as the first protestant church ministered exclusively by former enslaved people. It became a legally incorporated denomination in 1816. Upon the request of the Haitian government, The AME sent 6,000 individuals to the island of Saint-Domingue between 1824-1826, two decades after this first Black Republic in the world came into being. The Haitian Revolution is an integral part of the history of the AME in the island and it is also crucial to note that Richard Allen was deeply involved in the logistics of this immigration, the most important one of the XIX Century in Dominican history.


In 1946, Marcus…

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Images of Identity: Taller Puertorriqueño Celebrates its 40-Year Anniversary


I often ask myself why I am not in NY. Look at this.

Originally posted on Repeating Islands:


Taller Puertorriqueño extends an invitation to the reception of “Images of Identity: Taller Puertorriqueño 1974 – 2014,” an exhibition celebrating its 40 years of commitment to the community, to be held on November 14, 2014, 5:30-8:00pm. Taller Puertorriqueño is located at 2557-59 North 5th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Description: Celebrating 40 years of engaging and building community through the arts, this exhibition is a survey of Taller’s response to the needs and aspirations of the community it represents.  Multi-media installations, videos, photographs, art and interviews retell the story of the struggle, resilience and creativity of the people behind Taller who made and make the organization El Corazón Cultural del Barrio.

RSVP here

For more information, see

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White Hispanics


I knew this was coming. Next, dissertations and studies on this rare breed. I like how this entry say that “White” is not the same here or there.

Originally posted on Abagond:

louis-ckWhite Hispanics (1977) are people in the US with roots in Latin America who consider themselves White by race. Among US Hispanics (aka Latinos), about half do.

Latin America has long had White people. Like in Anglo America, they came from Europe, took Native land, brought in Black slaves and built their societies on racism. But the term “White Hispanic” was rare in English before 1977. It was then that the US government came out with Statistical Policy Directive #15. It said in part:

“Hispanic. A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.”

From that came the terms “White Hispanics” and “non-Hispanic Whites”.

In 2012 the term “White Hispanic” became more widely known when the New York Times called George Zimmerman a “white Hispanic”. It had rarely used that term before.

Hispanics who identified as White on the US…

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Small Axe: Thinking with Colin Dayan

Originally posted on Repeating Islands:



The new edition of Small Axe (SX45) includes a book discussion section on the work of Colin Dayan.

Titled Thinking with Colin Dayan, it features contributions from the following scholars:

“Ancient Moods of Proof and Current Jural Doings: Notes on the work of Colin Dayan” by Avery Gordon

“Haiti, History, and the Law: Colin Dayan’s Fables of Conversion” by Chris Bongie

“From Black Transgender Studies to Colin Dayan: Notes on Methodology” by Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley and Matt Richardson

Writing in a Belittered World by Colin Dayan

For the full contents of the new issues go to

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Learning from “Amazing Maps” and their interactive maps

Perhaps you have noticed it too: the popular site “Amazing Maps” has a strong preference for everything European and from the United States, and what more powerful way to project an imperial view of the world than by using maps. Here Latin America and the Caribbean hardly appears at all and when it does, it is not from a positive angle. Africa more than Asia debuts in these maps, but the negative perspective here is even stronger. When the non-western world, in fact, is shown here it is only to bring “proportion” (a favorite word in this site) to the view from the U.S. and to compare it with whatever the subject is in the West; it is a form of self-talk and self discovery with the non-western world as a comparative background, but never as an equal (there is a definitive fear to Islam in this site). Despite all of this, the people behind this project often use their illustrative power of maps to highlight necessary criticism of Western Society (here is a link to a positive review of the site) And sometimes, there is a map or two that could prove useful in my classes. And here is a list of some of them.

At the West AJ

So, yesterday (October 30, 2014), I go to the faculty office at the West AJ for my first office hours here and look what I found: a big bag of chocolate kisses. With incentives like this, who would not come again?

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History Compass

Peer-reviewed survey articles from across the discipline

#Ayotzinapa Somos Todos

Vivos se los llevaron, vivos los queremos

Kim Staub

musings of a historically-minded young professional

Sirius Reflections

History, Animals, and Networked Learning

Ellie Slices Bagels

Stories of buring bread, slicing skin and enjoying a great bagel!


Sonríe y disfruta de la Historia


A blog from Marquette University history faculty

Sandra Mathews-Benham

Historian of the American West

A Promise to Dad

"You don't have anything if you don't have your health"

El Imperio de Calibán

El objetivo de este blog es fomentar el estudio de la historia de los Estados Unidos y analizar las prácticas, instituciones y discursos del imperialismo estadounidense.

Alanna Lockward

Some articles, essays and videos by/with AL


How to do your research on a mac.


Hogeland's commentaries on populism, liberalism, and conservatism in American history, politics, and poetics

Illustrating Chinese Exclusion

Thomas Nast's cartoons of Chinese Americans

Sniffing the Past

Dogs and History

Universal Emancipation

Anti-Slavery and Civil Rights Movements in the Atlantic World

History Leaks

liberate the archive


Comments and advice for academic authors




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